No one knows what the meeting was about except that, according to Corey Lewandowski, it went well. Maybe, after dumping on Rove off and on for the past year (“Is he not the dumbest human being on earth?”), the great anti-establishment scourge Trump finally wanted to tell him off face-to-face? It’s possible.
Also possible, I guess: In need of cash to fund the campaign the RNC’s building for him, and unwilling or unable to pony up the money himself, Trump had to go hat-in-hand to Mr Establishment to rattle his tin cup.
Which do you suppose it is?
The tense relationship between Mr. Trump and Mr. Rove has deeper significance than just resolving their public sparring. Mr. Rove has longstanding relationships with many of the party’s biggest donors, and has intricate knowledge of how “super PACs” can help elect candidates.
Mr. Rove also has a long relationship with Sheldon Adelson, another casino magnate who has said he would spend upward of $100 million to back Mr. Trump. Mr. Adelson and Mr. Trump met on Tuesday, their second meeting in the last few weeks.
Mr. Rove has talked with Mr. Adelson about what super PAC to use as a vehicle for donating such a large sum of money to support Mr. Trump, including possibly using the Crossroads fund-raising groups, which he helped establish, according to people with knowledge of the discussions.
A few weeks before the meeting, Trump tweeted that Rove shouldn’t be on the air. A week after the meeting, Rove ripped Trump on Fox for his “unpresidential” attack on the media at a press conference. Either the meeting didn’t go as well as Lewandowski claims or … maybe a lot of this is kabuki, with Trump bashing Rove to please his populist base and Rove bashing Trump to soothe the Republican donor class. And meanwhile, the whole time they’re quietly coordinating, however informally, to help arm Trump for the general election. Is that possible?
Here’s a bit from a Politico piece published in mid-April, just nine days after Ted Cruz’s supposedly momentum-building win in Wisconsin, about Rove and his American Crossroads Super PAC huddling with contributors about a fall campaign for Trump:
The phone call — which featured Rove, Crossroads officials and a pollster — laid out swing state polling and electoral map analysis done by the group showing circumstances in which Trump could beat Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner, in a general election, according to three sources briefed on the call.
One source, a high-level operative with the Koch brothers’ conservative advocacy network, characterized the conversation as heralding “a softening of the anti-Trump position” within the big-money GOP establishment. The source added of Crossroads’ stance on Trump, “It’s not that they support him, only that if he’s the guy, we can do something to stop Hillary.”
Raising the money doesn’t mean Trump has to sit by silently while Crossroads spends it on his behalf. He won the primary by reassuring Republican voters he’d be immune to elite pressure as president because he’s not relying on rich donors. Crossroads, powered by Rove’s rolodex, is as potentially lucrative a donor nexus as the GOP has. If Trump’s serious about preserving his independence, he could call on outside groups to stand down during the election in order to draw a contrast between his campaign and Crooked Hillary’s Wall-Street-bankrolled operation. Maybe that’s what the meeting with Rove was about? No, probably not.
Here’s Trump laying into Rove for, er, raising lots of money for a presidential election and then losing.